D.C. Police Chief Orders More Respect for Transgender Arrestees

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 15, 2007; 6:34 PM

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier issued a departmental general order today directing her officers how to deal respectfully with transgender people. The order "sets the highest standards in the nation," according to the DC Trans Coalition, made up of members of the District's transgender community.

Among the directives are that officers will refer to transgender people by the gender they have "expressed or presented."

It also states that when arresting a transgender person, officers should write "AT RISK" on their arrest form to indicate they may experience hostility from other arrestees and should be placed in a separate cell. Arrestees also may determine their own gender.

In July, Virginia Grace Soto Soto, 47, was arrested in the District on drug charges and spent two nights in an area of a detention facility reserved for men. At the jail, she underwent a strip search and showered with male inmates before it was determined that she was a woman.

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